Harper also sees the service expanding to help refugees quickly gain access to services at hospitals. Joe O'Carroll, senior vice president of Jordan and U.K.-based biometric company IrisGuard — who created the technology — has even bigger plans to expand to the U.S. and Europe.
"Your identity is really important. ... If you know who you're dealing with, you can provide so many services," O'Carroll said. "A camera could be in a kiosk in the grocery store to renew your passport, deliver pensions and social services like [food stamps]."
O'Carroll declined to say how much the U.N. pays for iris-scanning services, noting that the price of complete system of data bases, scanners and training and support is quoted based on the size of an organization.
Though there might be advantages to the technology, it could have a dark side, too. Jonathan Shannon, a professor and cultural anthropologist at Hunter College in New York City and author of A Wintry Day in Damascus, said he is "deeply skeptical," since biometric scanning pushes the fine line between identification and surveillance.
"My main concerns regarding the use of this or any biometric identification of Syrian refugees is that the technology is merely a backdoor for attempting to monitor and control majority Muslim populations and tracking them in Europe," Shannon told CNBC in an email. "It's not likely to prevent so-called terrorists or potential terrorists from entering Europe anyway, since a retinal scan has no way of differentiating one person's intentions from another's. ... Any time government security concerns intersect with the profit motive, we have a recipe for a humanitarian disaster."